Telecom Alert : July 31, 2017- NTIA IoT Security Update; CAF II; RUS Broadband Access Loans; FirstNet Update; DSH Awards $900,000 Drone Research Grant
NTIA Releases IoT Device Security Update
Last week a multi-stakeholder group established by the NTIA approved a four-page document that advises IoT device manufacturers on how to convey available security updates to consumers. The document encourages manufacturers to convey device update abilities prior to purchase, including how updates will be delivered and the dates when they will be offered. The document is reportedly the first of four that the group plans to release to help manufacturers make IoT devices more secure.
CAF II Lined up for Aug. 3 FCC Open Meeting
FCC Chairman Pai announced in a blog post that the Commission will consider a number of items focused on closing the digital divide between rural and urban America at the August 3 Open Meeting. In particular, “the Commission will consider a Public Notice to initiate the pre-auction process for the Connect America Fund Phase II auction.” The CAF II auction will award up to $198 million annually for 10 years to service providers that agree to provide voice and broadband services to fixed locations in unserved high-cost areas.
RUS Opens Applications for FY17 Broadband Program
The Rural Utilities Service announced last week that the group will begin accepting applications for the second round of the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program for FY2017. The group plans to award at least $60 million of the annual total of $115.2 million during the second round. Applications are due by September 30. The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program, established by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) “furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas.”
West Virginia became the seventh state to commit to allowing AT&T and FirstNet to build and maintain their radio access network (RAN) last week. In Vermont, however, state Senators requested an extension of the comment period for the state’s FirstNet State Plan, which ended on July 24. The Senators also encouraged the Governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, to simultaneously seek an extension of the 45-day comment period on state plans established by FirstNet. They cited a lack of transparency and information from FirstNet as the source of concern, stating that much of the relevant information critical to making an opt-in decision was labeled as proprietary and therefore eliminated public input. At the FCC, AT&T opposed Verizon and other parties who seek a ruling from the Commission that opt-out states have the lawful option of a state core, subject to interoperability requirements with the FirstNet core.
DHS Awards $900,000 Grant for Drone Analysis
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate awarded a $928,541 research and development contract to VTO last week to “increase law enforcement capabilities to identify, collect and analyze evidentiary data from consumer and professional drones.” The award is part of the S&T Cyber Security Division’s (CSD) Cyber Forensics project, which is responsible for developing innovative, cost-effective cyber forensics solutions that help law enforcement keep pace with emerging technology. The project focuses on establishing new capabilities to help law enforcement conduct forensic investigations of digital evidence from various devices such as mobile phones and automobile infotainment systems.